Shakespeare's Sonnets

Can We Defeat Death?: A Close Reading of Sonnet 15 College

Although time causes man to grow and reach his apex, it also brings him to his decline and eventual death, thereby making time a complicated friend as well as foe. Is growth and aging just a slow ride to our tombs, or is there something we can actually do during the process to combat death in a metaphysical way, and preserve the height of our growth? Shakespeare grapples with this question in many of his works, particularly in Sonnet 15, when contemplating the future of a very fair youth. He does not want time to destroy the fair youth like it generally does to all youths. A careful study of his use of diction, metaphors, personification and many other literary techniques reveals that the poem suggests two ways in which we can indeed battle against time. The first way suggested is to have children, as the youth, even in his old age, can relive his youth through his children. The second is to write poetry about the youth, as a written work can last much longer and preserve his memory. However, it is difficult to discern how much weight the author gives to each battle tactic. Is one presented as more important or more effective than the other? Additionally, is there much weight given to either of the solutions or is the overall...

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